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Boozer the Bruiser: His Impact and Importance to the Bull’s Playoff Run

The Chicago Bulls missed out on the courting of Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade this off-season.

Lucky for them. 

The Bulls are on their way to a 60-win season, the number one seed in the Eastern Conference and could not have realistically done any better. 

The Bulls did land Carlos Boozer, who, in such a deep free agent market, seemed to be a consolation prize.

Boozer signed with Chicago for $75 Million for over 5 years, which seemed to be a solid price for a 20 and 10 guy who gets hurt a lot and plays questionable defense. 

Boozer has put up solid numbers, averaging about 18 PPG, 9 RPG and shooting around 51% in only 54 games. But he has played poorly on the defensive end and consistently struggles against opposing power forwards, so much so that he was benched in the fourth quarter of a game against the Nets.

All that being said, Boozer has made an impact on the offensive end and given the Bulls their best post player in 10 years.

But now, it's playoff time.

If the Bulls plan on going anywhere and winning anything in these playoffs, Boozer will need to be better.

Boozer is settling for long range jump shots too much and his shooting percentage is down from previous seasons. If the Bulls are going to win the championship, he needs to be assertive on the low block, use his vast array of post moves to score efficiently, and open up the inside-outside game for Derrick Rose and the rest of Bull's perimeter players. 

When Boozer controls the paint, things open up offensively for the Bulls. Throwing the ball into a hot Boozer can cause the defense to collapse, opening up outlet passes and cutting lanes for wing players.

While Boozer's offense needs some improving, his defense is what needs the most work.

Luckily for Boozer, the Bulls run a great defensive scheme that stresses teamwork and can carry a weak link for periods at a time, so Boozer doesn't need to turn into Bill Russell overnight. 

What Boozer can do is use his toughness to help his overall defense.

Boozer is tough on the court. With Joakim Noah, Kurt Thomas, and even Omer Asik, he helps to make up a front court that would make the "Bad Boy Pistons" proud.

Boozer can intimidate opposing players with his physical play and I think can really help him on that end of the court.

By boxing out hard, throwing some bows, and using his size, and thickness to control the low block on defense, just as he can on offense, he can keep opposing post-men out.

We've seen Boozer struggle against the bigs of the Lakers in the past two playoffs but he won't face them until the finals if he does. His two more likely opponents, the Celtics and Heat, are both considerably smaller, especially Boston since the Perkins trade. So, he shouldn't have to deal with the same problems he did out West when playing for Utah.

I liked the Boozer signing and I think he's made a positive impact overall for the Bulls this season. If Chicago has plans of winning the title, he will have to make his presence felt.

Champions switch gears come playoff time on both ends of the floor.

Let's see if Boozer has it in him.  

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